Money's list of America's best small towns


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69. Scituate, RI
Scituate
WINNER
Top 100 rank: 69
Population: 10,900
Compare Scituate to Top 10 Best Places
This former farming community has many homes on large plots of land -- perfect for privacy-loving Yankees. Scituate works to maintain its forests and lakes to preserve the rural tranquility. The downtown is quaint, with a small country-style main street.

Scituate's economy depends on the city of Providence, which is struggling in the recession. That explains why unemployment here is higher than the national average.

On the plus side, taxes are relatively low, yet the schools are highly ranked -- an unusual combination. And homes here have mostly held their value. --R.G.

Is Scituate a great town, or what?
Scituate stats
Median family income
(per year)
$87,130 $97,441
Job growth %
(2000-2008)*
9.83% 19.58%
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Median home price $290,0001 $262,148
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Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
39.1% 25.6%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
48.2% 28.2%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 0 1
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 11 19
Restaurants
(within 15 miles)
2,070 1,923
High temp in July ° F* 82.4° 85.5°
Low temp in Jan ° F* 18.5° 21.0°
Median age 40.7 36.6
Median family income
(per year)
$87,130 $97,441
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$71,360 $95,041
State sales tax 7.00% 5.63%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
9.90%I 6.06%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
3.75%I 3.07%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average price quotes, for the state)
$2,357 $1,744
Job growth %
(2000-2008)*
9.83% 19.58%
See jobs near Scituate
Median home price $290,0001 $262,148
Average property taxes
(2007)
$6,904 $3,853
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Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
22 20
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
39.1% 25.6%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
48.2% 28.2%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
95.3/4.7 90.1/9.9
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
79.0% 78.6%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 0 1
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 11 19
Median commute time (in minutes) 23.6 22.5
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
9.0% 13.8%
% population walk or bike to work 1.6% 2.3%
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
23 24
Restaurants
(within 15 miles)
2,070 1,923
Bars
(within 15 miles)
214 174
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
210 148
Libraries
(within 15 miles)
88 53
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
7 7
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 27 17
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 2.4 1.2
Annual rainfall
(inches)
48.57 39.77
% clear days in the area 27 27
High temp in July ° F* 82.4° 85.5°
Low temp in Jan ° F* 18.5° 21.0°
Median age 40.7 36.6
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
59.5% 71.9%
Married % 65.4% 62.9%
Divorced % 7.3% 7.7%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
24.6 58.9
From the August 2009 issue
Notes:
* County data
(1) Median based on fewer than 100 home sales in the area.

(I) Income tax notes:
Values adjusted for inflation each year.
Some states effectively double the bracket widths for joint filers (AL, AZ, CT, HI, ID, KS, LA, ME, NE, NY, OR). CA doubles all bracket widths except the $1,000,000 bracket. Some states increase, but don't double, all or some bracket widths for joint filers (GA, MN, NM, NC, ND, OK, RI, VT, WI). Some states do not adjust their brackets for joint filers (AR, DE, IA, KY, MS, MO, MT, OH, SC, VA, WV, DC). Of these states, some permit married couples to file separately to avoid a marriage penalty, and some allow joint filers to make an adjustment to reduce their tax after it is calculated. MD decreases some of its bracket widths and increases others. NJ adds a 2.45% rate and doubles some bracket widths.
Taxpayers calculate tax under a flat tax system and pay the lesser of the liability. The flat tax applies to all types of income with no exemptions or deductions and treats†capital income as wages. The flat tax rates are 6.5% for 2009; 6% for 2010; and 5.5 percent for 2011 and†beyond.
Deduction or exemption tied to federal tax system. Federal deductions and exemptions are indexed for inflation.
Money picked the top 100. Now itís your turn: Which town will be our fan favorite? Become a fan of your town and it might just make it to No. 1. Results updated monthly.
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Using statistics from data provider Onboard Informatics, we crunched the numbers in order to zero in on America's best small towns for families. (Last year, we looked at small cities, with populations between 50,000 and 300,000.) More

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